Sunday, March 17, 2024

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

 This St. Patrick's Day, more than ever, I've heard people mentioning that they were going to have corned beef and cabbage to celebrate the day. I wondered where this tradition came from inasmuch as Ireland, traditionally, did not raise many beef cattle and tended to have sheep or pigs instead on their small tenant farms. 

At dinnertime, while we were eating a boiled dinner consisting of boiled pork shoulder, cabbage, potatoes, onions, celery, and carrots, I turned to my husband, Jim, and asked if he knew anything about the tradition of corned beef for Irish-Americans. Of course, he did! He told me that when the Irish first came to America, they were poor and they settled in big cities like New York, Boston and Chicago. They shopped at Jewish delis that were present in the ghetto areas. Corned beef was originally a Jewish food. 

The Irish were used to boiling their food and by St. Patrick's Day, in Ireland, they would still have root vegetables left from the previous year's harvest and cabbage which was a staple in their diet. Thus was born the boiled dinner!

Jim arose early this morning to make Irish Soda Bread. I have not been a fan of it, in the past, but his is excellent! The key is to cool it completely and then, to keep it wrapped in a damp towel. Feeling like baking today, Jim also made a squash pie. He is a keeper. Anyhow, I now have my answer to the corned beef question and thought maybe you were wondering about that, too! It's an Irish-American tradition, but not an Irish tradition!

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